Advice to Young Writers

      by Ron Padgett

One of the things I’ve repeated to writing
students is that they should write when they don’t
feel like writing, just sit down and start,
and when it doesn’t go very well, to press on then,
to get to that one thing you’d otherwise
never find. What I forgot to mention was
that this is just a writing technique, that
you could also be out mowing the lawn, where,
if you bring your mind to it, you’ll also eventually
come to something unexpected (“The robin he
hunts and pecks”), or watching the Farm News
on which a large man is referring to the “Greater
Massachusetts area.” It’s alright, students, not
to write. Do whatever you want. As long as you find
that unexpected something, or even if you don’t.


From Collected Poems, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Coffee House Press, 2013, page 408.